The Goodwood Revival – September 2014 – Freddie March Spirit of Aviation

The Goodwood Revival took place at the historic airfield and racing circuit over the three days 12th to the 14th September 2014. The Revival is a unique and very special event, with so many aspects worthy of their own photo-reports. First, here, is the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation Exhibition presented by Eve.

Amongst the selection of thirty lovely machines a beautiful Cessna 195 Business Liner owned by Dirk Sadlowski was named the winner of the concours d’elegance competition. The 1949 aircraft, which was the first to be produced by Cessna in all-aluminium form, came out on top as a panel of expert judges, which included TV presenter and keen aviator Carol Vorderman, political correspondent John Sergeant, pioneering Formula 1 and road-car designer Gordon Murray, Mike Davis, managing director of Midair, aviator Tracey Curtis-Taylor, Eve managing director Nigel Quinn, British Airways’ director of flight operations Stephen Riley and Pilot Magazine’s flight test editor Dave Unwin.

Second place went to an example of the last biplane to be used by the RAF, a 1939 Gloster Gladiator owned by Stephen Grey, while third spot was taken by a 1945 de Havilland DH89a Rapide.

The most famous of the other aircraft in the display was Rob Hield’s 1960 Hiller UH-12E4, the helicopter flown by Pussy Galore in the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’ and also used by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in film ‘VIPs’.

Also present were a 1942 Douglas C-47 Dakota, an example of one of the 2000-strong group of aircraft that was used by the RAF, a Spitfire from Biggin Hill, an American Aeronca TA Champ and a 1960s Czech Morovan-Zlin Z326 which braved a 10-hour journey to make it to the Revival.

The area also offers a more ‘chilled’ zone for the public to picnic and generally enjoy the atmosphere away from the more packed and busy environment elsewhere at the event.

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RAFA Shoreham Airshow – 31 August 2014

The Shoreham Airshow raises funds for the RAF Association and 2014’s bumper crowd will have been highly beneficial to the charity. Many will have come to see the Canadian Lancaster which was sadly grounded with engine problems but the show delivered plenty to keep everyone happy. The customary Battle of Britain set-piece gave way to a 70th anniversary D-Day commemoration with an enacted invasion of the airfield featuring two Dakotas (avoiding the ‘flak’) and a variety of fighters.

The following illustrates a selection of the variety on offer at this popular event:

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The D-Day Anniversary Air Show – IWM Duxford – 25 May 2014

A somewhat delayed photographic look at the D-Day anniversary show at Duxford in May. The event focused on representative aircraft covering all of the aspects of the invasion, including a precious few that were actually involved seventy years ago. Modern sport gliders substituted for the troop carriers of the war, but otherwise the display consisted of examples of types from the period plus modern aircraft with links to those involved. A number of aircraft have had invasion stripes applied for the commemorations, with those on the Grace Spitfire ML407 purposely painted in an accurately rough fashion typical of the time.

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Daedalus D-Day 70th Airmen & Airborne Memorial Service – Lee-on-the-Solent – 3 June 2014

A memorial service was held at the Civic War Memorial on the Lee-on-the-Solent seafront in the evening of 3 June to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of D-Day – one of many such events each side of the Channel. The Memorial is located just a few hundred yards from HMS Daedalus, an airfield which played a major part in the embarkation of troops for ‘Operation Overlord’. Much of the local area became a launch point for the huge military operation – both airborne and seaborne. A record 435 sorties operated from the airfield on D-Day itself, with aircraft from the RAF, FAA, USAAF, USN, SAAF, RAAF and RCN working around the clock.

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The Service was followed by flypasts from a number of aircraft representing some of those air arms, themselves flying out of the same airfield. Additional aircraft had gathered at Lee – including a eight C-47 Dakotas/Skytrains – and would depart the following day for mainland Europe and further commemorations and troop-dropping re-enactments. A number of those crews and ‘troops’ attended the Service, alongside veterans and local dignitaries.

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The weather for the service was luckily better than forecast, though the timing of the flypasts coincided with a tall and threatening front moving in from the west which blocked out the light, making photography awkward.

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A planned poppy-drop by C-47 ‘Union Jack Dak’ when passing the memorial met with a slight technical difficulty which sadly caused the petals to fall beyond the intended dropping point. This Skytrain is a D-Day veteran, having departed in the early hours of 6 June 1944 heading for Normandy towing a Waco glider.

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Those onboard in 1944 – and the tens of thousands of other brave souls airborne at that time – were spearheading the Allied attack on ‘Fortress Europe’, from which they might not return.

‘Lest we Forget’

Abingdon Air & Country Show – 5 May 2013

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Held in aid of the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust the volunteer-run Abingdon show provided a fun day out for the family and enthusiast alike, and benefited from some better weather than has been the case for many shows over recent years. Here are some highlights:

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Will Hilton and the SWIP Twister in which he would make his public display debut later in the day.

Five years ago Will, now 19, was an Air Cadet at the show directing cars. The youngster approached Twister pilot Pete Wells at that show and told him that it was his ambition to become a display pilot. With the help of Pete, Alan Cassidy and his own determination he has turned that ambition into reality.

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Rod Dean made his 2013 display debut at Abingdon in Bulldog XX543, having retired from displaying warbirds and classic jets.

ImagePeter Vacher’s Mk1 Hurricane was a star of the warbird content:

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The Breitling Wingwalkers team made their 2013 UK show debut at the Abingdon Air & Country Show having returned from their tour to Australia.

ImageAces High’s Dakota:

ImageThe above is but a small snapshot of the events in the air, with many more on the ground. The small team led by Neil Porter deserve much praise for their extreme efforts in bringing the show together each year. Look out for it in 2014.